TOKYO, Sept. 11 (UPI) — Four Chinese ships sailed into territorial waters near disputed islands in the East China sea, Japan’s Coast Guard said Sunday.
The two countries have a long-running dispute over the uninhabited islands, known as Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China.
China claims the islands have been part of its territory since ancient times. But Japan argues it has been in control since 1895. The United States briefly controlled the islands and handed them over to Japan in 1972.
The Japan Coast Guard said the vessels entered the area at 10:30 a.m. and stayed for 1-1/2 hours before being asked to leave.
Last month, Japan’s coast guard released a four-minute footage showing several Chinese boats approaching the Senkakus.
Earlier this month, Chinese vessels were positioned close to a disputed reef in the South China Sea near the coast of the Philippines despite warnings by the United States that China should not go into the area. The Philippine Defense Department said four Chinese Coast Guard ships and six other vessels were less than a mile from Scarborough Shoal, which is claimed by the Philippines and China.
Russia and China plan to conduct joint naval drills Monday through Sept. 19 in the South China Sea.